Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer Greens Cravings Lead to Taste Testing Weeds

Many of you know that Brenon Duff is a true "raw" man and Nathan and I were fortunate to have a private one-to-one with him last Sunday afternoon.  His insight on eating raw is a great blessing to those who know him. His Sunday Lecture last fall had a measurable impact on my eating habits.  I've been drifting into eating raw for the past 6 - 8 months and my body feels very different. I am also maintaining my 45-pound weight loss with no struggle.  I feel lighter and more alert. I go through experimental phases with raw eating and find that when I stop juicing and cut back on the hummus, etc. I feel like I am hungry all the time. Then I eat and eat and cannot be satisfied.  During one of my "I'm starving" moments last week,  I had an epiphany that sounded something like this:
"Ingesting food just to stop my stomach from feeling hungry does not necessarily feed my body's need for nutrition. For me, giving raw food to my body is providing it with the nutrients it needs.  I can tell because I can go longer without feeling the need to eat. Until I give my body the nutrients it demands, it will continue to send me a message that I am starving."
Back to juicing I went and my body said "ahhhh......thank you"...

In the interest of getting more greens this summer--raw for me and cooked for Nathan--with Brenon's guidance
and a bit more research, Nathan gathered some young leaves from the yard today for us to taste test.   Included were young sweet potato leaves, spanish needle, and wild amaranth.
sweet potato leaves
wild amaranth

Spanish Needle

We nibbled them raw and then lightly steamed and agreed they were more than palatable!
Clockwise from upper right hand: young potato leaves, Spanish Needle, and wild amaranth.

The sweet potato leaves taste most like a mild spinach with just a slight trace of mucilagenous texture.  For those who find that distasteful, if sauteed this would likely disappear. The wild amaranth has a nutty spinach flavor and (I thought) just a trace of broccoli flavor in its depth.  The Spanish Needle has a very strong flavor while the sweet potato leaves and wild amaranth were light and smooth flavored. They taste "very green" as opposed to Spanish Needle which had a strong herbal taste (slightly rosemary).  It turns out that Spanish Needle is internationally used medicinally for many things which leaves no wonder that it has such a powerful flavor.

I think any of these might be especially good in smoothies, a salad, or a pesto but I would experiment with only a small volume of Spanish Needle since it appears to have some powerful effects on the body.   Here is a 9-minute video which I found reassuring on eating weeds, including Spanish Needle. It can make you more "light sensitive".  Also, here is a great website on eating weeds.
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  1. Very Interesting. I have tried the sweet potato Where do you find amaranth? Spanish needle is all over my yard yum


  2. Get some from Nathan the next time you volunteer. It is everywhere. Turns out we've been composting it for over a year... LOL. it grows... well... like a WEED! That Spanish Needle is strong but I liked it. Love the sweet potato leaves best!

  3. Addendum: spanish needle works especially well when combined with other salad greens! Start with a small amount and build up to whatever works best for your palate...